Social cinema for the masses

Jaman.com is a social network for movie fans.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg

There's no shortage of video on the Web, but how to separate the grain (feature films) from the chaff (videos of your cat)?

Less than 1 percent of films produced worldwide actually get distributed in the U.S., according to Jaman.com. Hence the new product Jaman, showing at Demo 07 just now.

Jaman cuts out the middleman and lets independent North American filmmakers and South American and South Asian filmmakers get their cinematic works online. For a fee of $1.99 to rent and $4.99 to buy, people can then sift through and watch any of the 200-plus films in their stable. And, Jaman.com brags, the films are delivered via broadband with "better-than-DVD quality" to a Mac or PC.

Jaman's video player (playing 4:3 content) CNET Networks

The social-network quality is the "smart window" to the right of the video window where filmmakers' commentary, along with community commentary, is posted. You can choose to skip fellow viewers' editorializing, or navigate right to scenes with comments by the bar on the bottom of the screen.

The built-in search engine flips through the service's content, where viewers can browse films via genre and region. There's also an IMDB-ish quality, with user reviews, ratings, synopses, and listing of awards the film may have garnered.

The whole world-cinema hook reminds me a lot of Social TV, except you can watch at your own pace.